What's killing the region? Read the series
The Times analyzed more than a decade of government mortality records and found death from heart ailments, cancer and non-cancerous lung conditions rank one, two and three on the list of the top 10 causes of death in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
Many of Northwest Indiana's top killers lurk in our refrigerators, drive-thru lines and convenience stores.
The biggest cause of death in the region often follows a circuitry of life choices and genetics, with the final kill switch thrown by the victims themselves.
By the time a 2001 chest X-ray detected a mass in then-47-year-old Donald Koppers' lung, it may have been too late, according to region physicians.
At its worst, it's like plugging your nose and sucking air through a narrow cocktail straw.
It takes sharp, active minds and reduces them to voids in which fathers don't know daughters and wives don't know husbands.